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A New Mexico DWI suspect may be in even more trouble after he allegedly tried to bribe an officer with Mountain Dew.
Luis Rodriguez-Neri, 21, was found by officers Monday after they were called to investigate a car that had "slammed into a light pole," reports Albuquerque's KOAT-TV. Rodriguez-Neri allegedly told deputies that he'd tossed back "six shots of Bacardi" before getting behind the wheel, and he refused to take breath or field sobriety tests. It wasn't until he was back at the station that Rodriguez-Neri allegedly offered the officers some sugary Mountain Dew for his sweet release.
What charges does Rodriguez-Neri face for an alleged Mountain Dew bribe? And what if he was just kidding?
Mountain Dew is known for its "extreme"-themed marketing campaigns, but it's not often that the caffeinated soft drink is offered up as a bribe. Rodriguez-Neri was charged with bribing a public official in connection with inviting the officer to "Do the Dew." But is this a charge that's going to stick?
Bribing or attempting to bribe any public official -- especially law enforcement officers -- will get you in trouble in any state. In New Mexico, bribery of a public official or public employee is a third degree felony, which can carry a penalty of up to three years in prison.
Bribery can be accomplished by offering anything of value to a public official in exchange for favorable treatment, and that includes a can or bottle of Mountain Dew.
But in order to be convicted of bribery, a suspect must have the intent to get something from a public official with his or her offer.
However, since officers likely believed that Rodriguez-Neri was intoxicated, why would they believe that he actually intended to bribe them?
While "I was drunk" is not a legal defense to committing crimes generally, intoxication may serve as a way to negate the specific intent required for certain crimes. It can be used to show that a defendant lacked the specific intent required to prove theft, and it may possibly work for the intent element of Rodriguez-Neri's bribery charge.
Rodriguez-Neri could also just claim that the Mountain Dew offer was a joke -- we certainly think it's funny.
Court records show that Rodriguez-Neri was released Monday, but they do not indicate whether he had any Mountain Dew in his possession.